Footage has just emerged of an amazing, world-first test of a massive swarm of micro-drones undergoing its first in-air deployment. In October last year, the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office launched a swarm of 103 Perdix micro-drones from three F/A-18 Super Hornets, and then sent them on a range of simple deployment missions.
The Military Times reported on the test flight, quoting the US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter as saying "This is the kind of cutting-edge innovation that will keep us a step ahead of our adversaries. This demonstration will advance our development of autonomous systems,”
The drones were launched from wing-mounted pods on the aircraft, and then used programmed swarm behaviours and collective decision making to undertake maneuvers. It's an impressive sight, to be sure, and the kind of distributed surveillance this could offer is a clear advantage.
However, the sound of the swarm is rather... obvious. The next step will no doubt be attempting to stealth the micro-drones in some manner. And anyone who's ever operated a drone knows how noisy they can be.